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East Division

1. Bowling Green

Coach: Dave Clawson

2012 record: 8-5

Key players: WR Shaun Joplin, WR Chris Gallon, LB Gabe Martin, SS Boo Boo Gates.

Outlook: The Falcons have a chance to win it all because of their defense, but who starts at QB remained a question mark deep into training camp.

2. Kent State

Coach: Paul Haynes

2012 record: 11-3

Key players: RB/WR Dri Archer, RB Traylon Durham, DT Roosevelt Nix, CB Darius Polk.

Outlook: The Golden Flashes will take a dip from their magical 11-win season but with Archer and Durham in the backfield, they won’t slide too far.

3. Ohio

Coach: Frank Solich

2012 record: 9-4

Key players: QB Tyler Tettleton, RB Beau Blankenship, LB Keith Moore, CB Travis Carrie.

Outlook: Injuries derailed a possible run to the league title but if they can stay healthy – and manage a relatively easy schedule – a 10-win season is possible.

4. UB

See Page B4.

5. Miami (Ohio)

Coach: Don Treadwell

2012 record: 4-8

Key players: QB Austin Boucher, WR Nick Harwell, DT Austin Brown, CB Dayonne Nunley.

Outlook: The offense relied heavily on the passing of Zac Dysert so the offense should be more balanced but the opening four games – Marshall, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Illinois – are not confidence builders.

6. Massachusetts

Coach: Charley Molnar

2012 record: 1-11

Key players: QB Mike Wegzyn, TE Rob Blanchflower, LB Jovan Santos-Knox, LB Kassan Messiah.

Outlook: Molnar impressed observers with a solid recruiting haul and the defense will keep the Minutemen in some games, but there’s still plenty of work to do on offense.

7. Akron

Coach: Terry Bowden

2012 record: 1-11

Key players: RB Jawon Chisholm, WR Dee Frieson, DT Nico Caponi, DE Albert Presley.

Outlook: Hard to build team morale after three consecutive one-win seasons.

West Division

1. Northern Illinois

Coach: Rod Carey

2012 record: 12-2

Key players: QB Jordan Lynch, RB Akeem Daniels, DT Ken Bishop, S Jimmie Ward.

Outlook: The schedule won’t allow for another 12-win season but you win the MAC with quality behind center and the Huskies have a great QB in Lynch.

2. Toledo

Coach: Matt Campbell

2012 record: 10-4

Key players: QB Terrance Owens, RB David Fluellen (Lockport), DE Christian Smith, LB Trent Voss.

Outlook: The Rockets will make the scoreboards blink like crazy but the defense was nearly wiped out by graduation.

3. Ball State

Coach: Pete Lembo

2012 record: 9-4

Key players: QB Keith Wenning, WR Willie Snead, DE Jonathan Newsome, DT Nathan Ollie.

Outlook: Wenning completes passes at a high percentage with Snead as his primary target but he’s working behind a line with four new starters.

4. Central Michigan

Coach: Dan Enos

2012 record: 7-6

Key players: RB Zurlon Tipton, WR Titus Davis, DT Jabari Dean, DT Leterrius Walton.

Outlook: There are plenty of weapons in the receiving corps but there was still a three-way battle at QB late in training camp and the defense was awful a year ago.

5. Western Michigan

Coach: P.J. Fleck

2012 record: 4-8

Key players: QB Tyler Van Tubbergen, RB Brian Fields, DT Travonte Boles, LB Johnnie Simon.

Outlook: Van Tubbergen was solid but four starters must be replaced up front. Injuries and graduation will hinder a defense that shifts to a 4-3.

6. Eastern Michigan

Coach: Ron English

2012 record: 2-10

Key players: QB Tyler Benz, TE Tyreese Russell, DE Kalonji Kashama, FS Donald Coleman.

Outlook: There’s speed in the secondary and at wide receiver, but a schedule that includes Penn State, Rutgers, Northern Illinois and Toledo will make it difficult for English to keep his job.

email: rmckissic@buffnews.com